We asked ourselves the question, is there one major thing we can do to make our homes greener?
In Green Home: A Sunset Guide, by Bridget Biscotti Bradley and her colleagues, they illustrate that there is not one thing that makes a home green or provides a natural environment to live in. Everything in your home, objects to electrical outlets can be made more environmentally friendly. Don’t get overwhelmed! Just break it down into categories and think about things one at a time.
“To begin, a green home is first and foremost an energy efficient one. That means making sure that your home is well insulated and that the appliances are energy efficient. This also means making sure that appliances waste less water. A simple caulking around windows and limiting other drafty areas can really make a huge difference and save you some serious coin.” (Bradley)
Every house can be made to be more sustainable and eco-friendly. Making your home a healthy energy efficient place does not mean you have to buy or build a new home. It is more environmental to make use of something already in existence then to replace it with new materials.
Building green means building for the long term. It is better to put more money into something that is of better quality and will last longer then to buy something cheep that will need to be replaced sooner. Ironically, often times it is used or older items that are studier. Many people buy antiques, for example, because they are beautiful and well-made. Craftsmanship as well as how environmentally friendly an item is should always be brought into consideration.
Bradley points out that smaller is better. Living in a smaller home means there is less resources that were put into making it and consequently, smaller homes are more affordable to maintain and to heat and cool. “It takes a lot of electricity, gas, and water to power large houses, so if you don’t need all the space you have, consider moving to a place with a smaller footprint to save energy in the long run.” (Bradley)
If you prefer to have lots of space, begin to think about how that space can be made to be more environmentally friendly. Can you perhaps furnish your large space with used or re-purposed materials? What ways can you conserve energy? If you are building you can incorporate green building techniques from the get-go.
What is the point in being/thinking green?
In addition to just plain doing the right thing by being kind to the environment, frighteningly “studies have shown that our bodies carry around chemicals that people were not exposed to a generation ago. Of the approximately 80,000 chemicals on the market today, fewer than 10 percent have been tested for their effect on humans; and the health consequences of the combination of all the chemicals we surround ourselves with is largely unknown.” (Bradley)
You can purchase Green Home: A Sunset Design Guide [here].